At Intuitry, we specialise in helping our clients recognise the patterns of thought and behaviour that are keeping them stuck in regularly over-eating when they feel stressed, anxious or depressed. As Accredited Practicing Dietitians, we also help our clients construct sustainable eating habits that support a considered and calm experience of eating. Our personalised approach to emotional eating therapy will always take into consideration what is going on for our clients that might impact their relationship with food.
What is emotional eating?
Emotional eating describes the behaviour of using food to soothe or avoid negative emotions, as opposed to eating that is to satisfy hunger or appetite. It’s a coping mechanism that people use to deal with stress, anxiety, boredom, sadness, and other difficult feelings. Many people turn to emotional eating when these emotions have surfaced, or sometimes in response to circumstances without recognising the emotions at all.
Emotional eating can be okay as an occasional tool to deal with stuff that’s difficult, but can be incredibly upsetting or shameful for our clients who feel they have no control over engaging in this behaviour. Many of our clients who describe emotional eating would also describe eating significantly large amounts of food and would meet criteria for an eating disorder.
Eating until slightly overfull or eating more indulgent foods than usual when you’re mindfully eating or celebrating with loved ones is part of a normal experience of eating. It’s when this becomes frequent, and the amounts become uncomfortable or the behaviour feels out of control that we feel something needs to change.
What are the signs of emotional eating?
The signs of emotional eating can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:
- Eating when you’re not hungry or after you’ve already eaten enough
- Eating to the point of discomfort
- Eating alone or in secret because you feel embarrassed about how much you’re eating
- Frequently choosing comfort foods over food to support healthy eating
- Feeling guilty or ashamed after eating
- Using food to self-soothe after a difficult day or experience
- Catastrophising an event and then planning food for when you get home
- Losing your internal negotiations about what to eat and feeling regret afterwards
There isn’t one specific trigger for emotional eating. Instead, it’s usually the result of multiple factors, such as having an unhealthy relationship with food (often due to diet culture, food insecurity and body image issues) or in combination with navigating daily triggers that elicit negative emotions.
It begins to feel as if there are no other alternatives to making us feel better. As is the experience of many of our clients before working with us, the increased frequency of emotional eating or of weight gain just increases the shame and the need to keep engaging in the overeating.
Intuitry can help
At Intuitry, we consider the whole of you. We are big on running a ‘no shame’ practice and want to show you that we hold no judgement about your eating. We’ve heard it all. We aim to support a journey through recovery that enables you to have a positive relationship with food, your body and movement/exercise. We will tailor your journey with us to cater for your individual needs and circumstances.
Book a consultation today
If you feel that you would benefit from emotional eating therapy with our Perth dietitians, please don’t hesitate to contact us for an initial consultation today.
OUR DIETITIAN SERVICES
See an Intuitry dietitian to improve your relationship with eating and your body.
We provide you with confidence in nutritional restoration, or meeting your nutritional needs, helping you overcome your barriers to continued recovery. As you progress, we support you to let go of plans, building confidence in eating practices that connect you to your internal cues and personal values.
Eating, WEIGHT & SHAPE CONCERNS
Making changing to our eating patterns is always very closely tied to our experience of being in our body. Our dietitians are trained in helping you navigate any difficulties that might come up as you improve your relationship with food.
By guiding you towards a way of eating that is directed by your internal cues and personal values, you gain confidence in caring for yourself, meeting your nutritional needs in context with all of your needs. Without the side of diet culture.